Is RAW actually losing it's audience?
Updated: May 29, 2021
It has become something of a running joke in the wrestling community, you see if online every week. Raw was bad tonight. The last Three weeks a lot of review shows have given RAW a bad rating, it is normally trending on Twitter but because people are saying how bad it is.
So, the people have spoken and RAW is bad, but something strange is happening its viewership is not drastically falling as you would expect if the show were horrible you would expect a massive loss of viewers quickly.
So, let's start at the total ratings of the last three episodes.
· April 12, 2021: 2.026 million viewers
· April 19, 2021: 1.907 million viewers
· April 26, 2021: 1.774 million viewers
So, we can see it is tracking down loosing 226,026 views since Wrestlemania. But if we look at before Wrestlemania we notice something strange;
· March 22, 2021: 1.816 million viewers
· March 29, 2021: 1.701 million viewers
· April 5, 2021: 1.701 million viewers
It is still higher than the three weeks leading up to Wrestlemania. This make’s some sense but, interest in wrestling is highest around 'Mania and they put on a decent 'Mania, so fans are willing to come back to the product. However, if you look back at the same dates last year we see;
April 13, 2020: 1.913 million viewers
April 20, 2020: 1.842 million viewers
April 27, 2020: 1.817 million viewers
This means it’s only slightly down from a year ago just around 100,000 so let’s look at the drop for the same period of dates for 2019;
April 15, 2019: 2.665 million viewers
April 22, 2019: 2.374 million viewers
April 29, 2019: 2.158 million viewers
This is a much larger loss and shows us that since 2019 RAW has lost 384,000 viewers. That is an average of around 533 viewers per night. There are some nights that do better like;
July 22, 2019: 3.093 million viewers (WWE Raw Reunion)(This was the last time RAW actually did over 3 million. )
So, we can see very clearly there is a loss of viewers and it is a continuing trend. I have spent the last few articles looking into Social media with the point being that wrestling is more consumed through Social media than TV now.
Let us take a quick look at the last two episodes for total views per episode. So, I have taken each video from that episode and tallied the views together to get the total interaction number, we will use this number to see how it is holding up.
For the episode on April 26th WWE released 16 YouTube videos with a total view count of 8,179,935. 13,686 comments for these videos.
For the episode on April 19th WWE released 17 YouTube videos with a total view count of 10,192,438. They also had 14,734 comments.
So, we can see very clearly that there is a dip in views but still a large online audience, this still shows that RAW is loosing its audience.
However let us roll back a little bit and look at 27th April 2020 WWE released 11 videos with a total viewer count of 7,444,551 and total comments of 9,516 and for April 20th WWE released 16 videos with a total view count of 10,078,158 and total comments of 13,318.
So, the 2021 two dates we have picked have a total of 18,372,373 views while the 2020 dates had a total of 17,522,709. So, this has increased from last year and they even had less videos.
This brings me to my point – RAW is a show that you can just watch a small bit and be caught up on. Looking back at the booking around June/July 2020 we had Apollo vs Kevin Owens feud and Nia/Shayna vs Natalia and Lana feud we currently have similar feuds currently.
I do not think RAW is meant for TV, WWE know they have a core audience with their numbers hovering between 1,890,000 to 1,710,000 rough average, since October 2020. WWE themselves have stated on investor calls that the way people watch has changed. We can see this with the level of engagement online.
WWE just have to make a show that is easily consumed online and that is the point, they book to create those 2–5-minute videos because they get so much more people engaging, we are not even including Twitter or Instagram with these numbers.
The days of WWE being TV focused might be over with them choosing to focus on Online instead.
While we may think it is and all the numbers dropping point in that direction, but as Scott Steiner once said, “the numbers don’t lie", to me seeing these numbers it appears that RAW is not really for us who sit and watch the full 3 hour show but for those who just check it out on Social Media.
So is it loosing it's audience? Yes for TV but it seems to be holding even increasing on Social Media.
While It will take more to prove this and more research this, I feel is a good start to really see how far RAW has slipped in ratings but how big it still is online. I will continue to investigate this but what do you think? How do you consume WWE or wrestling in general?